Mail-in voters can correct signature issues until Nov. 7

Posted at 6:48 AM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-25 07:02:51-04

The state’s election offices are making changes to their policies regarding mail-in ballots.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered the state to give thousands of voters a chance to make sure their vote-by-mail ballots are counted.

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U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled that county election offices should notify voters if their signature on a vote-by-mail ballot and their voter registration forms don't match. Voters would then be given a chance to fix the problem by 5 p.m. the day before the election.


The Florida Democratic Party sued the state saying that voters could be disenfranchised because election officials can discard the ballot if the signature doesn't match the one already on file. Voters aren't told about the problem until after the election is over. But state law requires election officials to notify a voter ahead of time if their mail ballot does not have a signature on it.

Walker, who was first appointed to the federal bench in 2012 by President Barack Obama, said that discrepancy makes the law unconstitutional.

"It is illogical, irrational, and patently bizarre for the state of Florida to withhold the opportunity to cure from mismatched-signature voters while providing that same opportunity to no-signature voters," Walker wrote in a ruling released late Sunday. "And in doing so, the state of Florida has categorically disenfranchised thousands of voters for no reason other than they have poor handwriting or their handwriting has changed over time."

Meredith Beatrice, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner, said the state would not appeal the decision. Detzner, the state's top election official, complied with the judge's order by sending out instructions to local election offices.

To check the status of your mail-in ballot click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.